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Developer:
Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: GBA
Release Date: October 2004

by Ryan Summerlin




What the Megaman X series brought to the PlayStation, the Megaman Zero series brings to the Game Boy Advance: lightning-fast action, challenging levels, and frenetic boss battles. Capcom’s latest installment in the Zero series continues to refine the classic side-scrolling action that the name “Megaman” is synonymous with.


The action is classic Megaman: you run, dash, and jump through hostile territory using an arsenal of weapons against swarms of enemy machines. New to MMZ3 is a versatile weapon called a Recoil Rod, which can be charged up and fired to launch Zero high into the air, push heavy blocks, and send armored foes flying as if they’d just been given wings in a Red Bull commercial. Also, the “Cyber-Elf” system that lets you breed-and-feed your own power-ups has been greatly improved over the first two Zero games; many of the creatures are now re-usable and you can equip two of them at a time. By far, my favorite feature in the game is a temporal anomaly called Cyberspace, which allows you to run through a level while phased in a parallel dimension. All of the Cyber-Elves you’ve collected will activate automatically, so if you’ve collected a lot of Elves, you'll be insanely powerful. It’s a good way to “cheat” your way through particularly difficult areas.


All in all, the game is pretty tight. The graphics are bright and crisp, and Zero’s moves are butter-smooth. Music gets a big A; MMZ3's rock-and-techno themes are awesome and set the mood well. Perhaps the game's biggest hang-up is its high level of difficulty. Bosses are maddeningly powerful and often unpredictable. And you will learn to hate spikes with a passion, as the steel barbs are instant death regardless of how slight a scrape against them may seem. Here’s a tip: find an Elf that says it can make deadly traps non-lethal and raise it like your firstborn child. “Newbies” might have a hard time; Megaman games are seldom newbie-friendly. But if you’re going to pick up the series for the first time, MMZ3 is a good place to start. It’s a great way to relive that “golden age” of gaming we like to get all nostalgic about.


Final Grade: 89%


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